BY AMEH IDUJAGI, JALINGO – Following the impeachment moves by loyalists of Governor Drius Ishaku against the Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon Abel Peter Diah and other principal officers of the House, there are strong indication that the officers are palnning to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC), if the move is not halted.
Information pieced together by Forefront News on Sunday indicates that the Speaker and twelve other members of the Assembly elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are putting finishing touches to their plan of defecting to the APC if the state governor fails to withdraw his arsenal as well as sheath his sword of the impeachment.
It was authoritatively gathered that the Speaker and other affected members met in the house of one of their colleagues situated along the Federal Government Girls college road on Sunday afternoon where the plan to defect to APC was hatched and is being perfected.
If the defection works out as being planned, taking into consideration the constitutional lacuna, the APC is likely to have a control of the House with 17 members as against their former numerical strength of five members and will accordingly form the majority party in a PDP controlled state.
Since the move to remove the Speaker and the other principal officers commenced on Friday, prominent persons alleged to be fronting for Governor Ishaku have been working round the clock to convince members of the Assembly to sign the impeachment paper with backup financial rewards.
As at Friday evening, only nine members out of 19 PDP members signed the impeachment notice paper while the five APC members in the Assembly insist they will only concede to the impeachment only if the 12 PDP members that are not principal officers sign the impeachment paper.
It was also gathered that agents of the governor have up their ante by lobbying relations of the hard liner lawmakers to impress on them on the need to append their signatures on the impeachment notice.
Forefront News further gathered that if the governor’s agents succeed in convincing the needed lawmakers to sign by Monday, the Speaker and the other 12 members will announce their defection to APC. This was just as it was gathered that the Taraba State Government has put its Attorney General and a team of lawyers on notice to file a suit at the High Court immediately to demand for the sack of the Speaker and any member of the House on the platform of the PDP that would defect to any other party in line with the provision of the Constitution and Supreme Court ruling on defection of legislators.
However, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mr. Bala Dan-Abu denied the involvement of Governor Ishaku in the impeachment saga, stressing that the relationship between the Speaker and principal officers of the Assembly with the governor remain cordial.